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Man Utd dealt Robin Koch transfer blow

Manchester United released Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe at the end of their respective contracts this summer while listening to offers for Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly, so Erik ten Hag could be short of centre-backs ahead of the new season unless a replacement is signed.

One player on the wishlist was Leeds United defender Robin Koch, but German outlet Kicker (h/t Sport Witness) say the 26-year-old isn’t interested in joining Leeds’ fierce rivals for one important reason; he wants to return to Germany.

Koch was born in Kaiserslautern, has represented his country eight times, and played his entire career in Germany before joining Leeds in 2020, so it’s no surprise he wants to return. The 26-year-old has made 77 appearances in all competitions for the Whites and was a regular last season.

Koch joined Leeds after they won promotion to the Premier League, but he may have played his final game for United following their relegation back to the Championship. The German international has one year remaining on his deal at Elland Road, so Leeds may feel they need to cash in while he still has value, rather than risk losing him for nothing next year.

Simon Jones of Mail Online said in 2020 that Leeds paid around £11.5m for Koch, but Wayne Veysey of Football Insider said recently that they might accept a bid of £15m, so they’ll still make a profit on his sale.

But Kicker say Man Utd won’t be the beneficiaries, as Koch looks determined to return to the Bundesliga. He played for Kaiserslautern, SV Dörbach, SV Eintracht Trier 05 and SC Freiburg before coming to England, so he’s clearly more at home in Germany.

It’s a blow for Ten Hag though, as he could be left with only Raphaël Varane, Lisandro Martínez and Victor Lindelöf if United’s out-of-favour players depart this summer. He wants a fourth option who doesn’t mind the squad rotation, but United will have to cross Koch off their list.

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